Monday, March 10, 2014

The Cult of the Irrational, Part 2

There was a time not very long ago when I believed that most human beings could be reached through reason.  You know:  you make what you consider a solid and persuasive argument, back it up with hard facts, and you assume that the average person will agree eventually with what you have to say.  And if they don't agree, you would hope that it's because they had solid arguments themselves to back up their own positions.
 
But as I've gotten older I've begun to realize that human beings are influenced much more by things like strong emotions (fear, anger, indignation), ideology, and social prejudices than by logic, reason, or rationality.  Case in point:  The South.  The Huffington Post had a wonderful article recently that shows just how backwards the entire region we call the South is on just about any measure of social progress:
 
(LOTS OF PICTURES...I PROMISE!)
 
The South is poorer, less upwardly mobile, more unhealthy, and much unhappier than the rest of the country.  One would think that the people who live in these southern states would welcome any sort of governmental assistance that they can get, but that's not the case.  In fact, southern states are at the forefront of the movement to cut government programs that assist the most vulnerable members of the society (children, the handicapped, the mentally ill, substance abusers, the elderly, and pregnant women).   Reason all you want with a southerner who thinks that government is the problem, but it probably won't convince him that many of the social difficulties that he experiences in his state are in fact the result of too little government, not too much.
 
Prior to the last presidential election, film-maker Angela Pelosi tried to understand the anti-governmental attitudes of people in Mississippi, one of the most backward states in the Union, according to the data in the Huffington Post article. While the people she interviewed may be more extreme than the average Mississippian, the attitudes expressed seem to be typical, insofar as the citizens of this state continue to vote consistently against their own self-interest: 
 

 
I'm not trying to pick on the South here.  I'm sure that there are many fine, decent people living south of the Mason-Dixon line.  And I don't think that the cult of the irrational exists solely in the south.   For example, Pelosi also interviewed citizens of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy to ask anti-government folks there what programs should be cut from the federal budget.  The answers that she received to this question were as painful as they were funny:
 

 
Keep in mind that these were all people who thought that the size of government ought to be cut substantially, but, when they had to explain exactly which government programs ought to be cut, they seemed to become transformed all of a sudden into New York liberals.  Once again, ideology and self-interest trump logic and reason.
 
So, if large segments of our American population seem to be totally impervious to rational arguments and even self-evident facts, how is it possible to persuade such individuals of the "truth"?  Either one has to resort to flagrantly rhetorical appeals to emotion (hardly philosophical) or one attempts to engage in rational discourse, knowing that his or her arguments will inevitably fall on deaf ears. 
 
In short, how can philosophical argumentation work at all in a society where the average citizen hasn't been educated to understand the value of reason in the first place?   It's a dilemma that I don't have any easy answers for.  I can't help thinking, however, that this great love affair that we Americans are currently having with the irrational doesn't bode too well for the future of our country. 

64 comments:

  1. So what you are saying is that people are dumb....Is that it? Well no shit, Sherlock! But people have always been dumb as dirt and totally irrational. Didn't people in what was the supposedly most rational culture in the world--ancient Athens--irrationally put Socrates to death?

    So you're bitching and complaining like the total elitist that you are that people are not smart or rational enough to appreciate the philosophical pearls of widsom that you so generously castbefore them. Get over it, cry baby. The trick is to reach people--even the totally dumb-ass people in the Pelosi videos--by whatever means necessary to achieve the common good. That's why rhetoric is a higher and more important discipline than philosophy. That science recognizes that not everyone is a sterile, cold, calculating rationalist (like You). Some people actually have hearts and are capable of being moved to action by appealing to their sentiments. You might try that some time if you ever hope to acheieve anything more in life than being an academic blowhard.

    Your A-E,
    Alex Romeo

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    1. Alex Romeo I don't know who you are but I agree with you my brother! Mike you need to stop bitching and complaining like a little girl. You elitist cry baby!

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    2. First in the matter, he is not complaining nor bitching like the bitch you are. He is simply stating why try to convince others in going towards the right path when simply they decide to ignore every hard evidence in the world. The perfect example or irrationality and stupidity is you Alex. You are simply angry at the fact probably one of your relatives or close relationship is the same way like the other retards in the world. How about you get over it and grow some balls, goodnight. -Abner Saravia

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  2. I agree because people are influenced by their emotions and not based on solid arguments. There are many programs that assist those who are less vulnerable and I see that as a positive thing. As shown in the videos, people are blind to how the programs help. They talk about cutting the population, programs and salaries but they don't see how that could turn out bad. People who were affected by Sandy deserve to be helped. Instead of educating themselves on the issues that government tries to help with, they base their judgements on their emotions against specific type of people. I could understand if there were factual arguments but they don't have any reason for their beliefs. In the videos, these people are asked about the programs they want to cut and they said "no" to most of them which is a contradiction in itself. This isn't just happening in the South. Its happening everywhere. People should really understand the different programs such have welfare, health care or even the economy as a whole a little better.

    -- Krystal Gooding

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    1. I agree with your comment Krystal! The people from the videos said programs should be removed but when asked which ones they had no answers. They didn't provide any support for their statements, making them basically invalid. - Alexander Detweiler

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    2. I agree with you in that the people are receiving positive benefits and they don't even know that it is helping them. I also agree that they are basing their arguments off of their emotions towards other races. All the people did in the Jersey video was contradict themselves and then could not come up with factual arguments. I also agree that this isn't just happening in the south, it's everywhere but from all the maps from the Huffington Post, the South seems like they need the most help and their own feelings are preventing them from change and help.

      Alexandra Dahl

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  3. I agree that people make decisions and judgements based off of how they feel and not actual facts. These people in the videos do not sound educated and made fools of themselves when asked the questions. In Mississippi, the people back their answers up with something about religion and faith, or about how family comes first before the government and how that should be taken into consideration in the government. The people in the south seem to also have prejudices towards blacks and other races and it is almost as if they are not up to date with the rest of the country and could care less because they don't even know why they are prejudice and would rather their family be poor than have a non-conservative government representative. They look at things from their own selfish interests and emotions and don't even care if it it hurting themselves and their families in the long run, even though family is very important to them. As for the people in Jersey, they don't even know what to cut and don't have any excuses either, they just want to cut government spending but have no facts as to what should be cut or why, they just "feel" that government spending needs to be cut.

    Alexandra Dahl

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    1. I agree with this because people state their feelings on certain things that the government does without having a valid argument or knowledge of it. I think people should be more open minded and view the positive affects of the programs that are occurring now. I would rather them researching a program and then stating they disagree on it than following their feelings on it without knowing anything about it.

      --Krystal Gooding

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  4. In my opinion I agree and disagree with these people that are being interviewed in the video. They have lots of pride and a very strong belief that the will never give up no matter how much help they need however there bashing Obama care so bad and saying that things need to be changed but when it comes to questioning them about what needs a change they say no to every offer.

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  5. I agree with the idea that it is difficult to change the view point of somebody who tries to maintain their side as much as possible. But what is even harder is the fact that it is even harder when that person is so hard headed and stubborn and doesn't even have hard facts to back their statements on. Most of the people that were being interviewed had no idea why their opinions were right. Those people have a whole idea of being American liberals that have "logic" about politics and how the government should be run; however they have a conservative southern mind by thinking whites are still superior over blacks, and that Obama shouldn't be president because he is not truly American. The way they live and act match exactly what they are saying, by not making sense. They need to put their minds into the real world and not just keep it in the borders of the south. According to Bill Maher, the people want a government as good as the people but the people are morons. They say one thing but don't really know the full background on it all. Based on the Huffington Post article, the south is most involved in teen pregnancies, minimum wages, cigarette smokers, and basically unhappiness. If they learn how to come about full, factual statements with good arguments that will support them, that is when they should have a word about the government and its funding.

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  6. You might as well stand by a government cut in education budgets, because most people don't seem very willing to learn about logic and reason! I kid, but really, it is EXTREMELY difficult to reason with (the majority of) people whose opinions are driven purely by emotion and/or ignorance. Furthermore, many of these opinions are likely a product of environment and culture. Interestingly, post-disaster self-interest in NJ clearly took priority over logic; the people were steadfast in their beliefs about reduced government spending, however they were not willing to sacrifice any of the benefits they personally reap from the government, while self-interest in the south is directly in conflict with a more sociocultural (and perhaps a bit politically ignorant) personal belief. The commonality is that they are all shooting themselves in the foot. That said, I don't think it would be IMPOSSIBLE to alter the views of at least some of the people who hold the aforementioned position. I think with the right combination of sympathy towards their beliefs with educated information (and the appropriate choice of words), some people would at least question themselves about why they hold the positions they hold so tenaciously.

    Allison T.

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    1. I agree with you that it wouldn't be hard to change the views of some people but it would be harder when people are focused more about emotion and how they feel about certain things, like racism for example. In all, I guess anything is possible.

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    2. I agree with you in the sense that many people's opinions are driven solely by emotion and ignorance. However that is not always the most logical reasoning behind actions that are taken. And, like you said, I agree that educating the masses about what their votes mean would be a step in the right direction to make people more open to change and others' opinions.

      -Melissa Comis

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  7. I agree with you Mike. These people that were interviewed are saying that they want to have more liberal point of view, but when asked about their ideas they provide a conservative set of beliefs. When asked what should be cut, they have no clue how to respond. I honestly don't really think they have any clue what they are talking about, that they are just ideas they have heard, absorbed and attempted to spread. I believe that this applies to many people today though with many topics. They think their way is the best and will never be persuaded or even listen to what you have to say about another way. Many people display dogmatist characteristics which is terrible because they will never learn new, better ways on either doing or thinking about a certain thing. On the 9 maps shown in the article, it shows a lot about the living conditions of the south. Factors such as poverty rates being higher, minimum wages being lower, obesity, higher percentage of cigarette smokers, and higher teen pregnancy show us that the south doesn't really care what they are doing wrong or what could be changed for the better, because their way is the best way. These people aren't using facts, but instead are using emotions to judge and this will always happen.
    -Alexander James Joseph Detweiler I

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    1. I agree with you because the maps do show damage when it comes to New Jersey and the videos showed that Mississippi was very poor but didn't want help from the government. The New Jersey citizens said they needed help but they didn't know what they needed. With more education they would
      -Vijay Racktoo

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  8. The major issue that sticks out to me from these two videos is the fact that too many people who are eligible to vote are also undereducated and do not understand what their votes actually mean. Rather than cutting government funding, schools should be provided with adequate resources to educate the average citizen to understand the value of reason. Based on the first video, many people in the South are dogmatic: they are unshakable in their moral outlook. And, when asked to defend their positions, many cited the Bible and God as providing all the justification that they believed was necessary. Too many of them are too proud, stuck in the past and still hung-up over the fact that the South lost the war so many years ago. They need to understand that times have changed and that some government interference can do nothing but help better their less-than-average lives. As for the second video, again, it is apparent that the majority of the people interviewed do not understand what the government’s function is and what it can do to help. They all thought that cutting the size of the government would be beneficial. But when asked to explain what programs should be cut, they suddenly couldn’t quite put their fingers on the problem. The reality is that most people make decisions and judgments based on emotion and opinion. Contrary to popular belief, these problems are not just happening in the Southern states. People all across America need to understand the benefits of the different programs, such as welfare and healthcare, that the government has to offer before they open their mouths.

    -Melissa Comis

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    1. I agree that that education should be more of priority. It could be the answer to all the problems. It seems it takes time for certain groups of people to keep up with changing times and changing beliefs.

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  9. I feel like everything is opposite in these videos. Usually the "rich" are known to be more conservative and are die hard Republicans, but in this situation that's not the case. The "poor", in Mississippi, are more conservative and the people living in Jersey, who are living better than the people in the south are being completely liberal. The people who wanted cuts in the budget didn't seem to be sure of what they wanted the government to cut. The people living in the south were very content as to how they were living, but when Angela Pelosi mentioned the fact that they wouldn't accept ObamaCare even though they really need health insurance, he was taken off guard and seemed a little uneasy because he knows how it would benefit the people in his surrounding areas. The people down south seem to be happy with how they are living so let them live like that, not our problem that more of them smoke cigarettes, or have a higher rate of teenage pregnancy, or are racist.

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  10. In my opinion disagree what ppl are saying in the video. I feel as if certain things in the government shouldn't be cut out especially in Mississippi because even though people there don't agree with Obama care I feel they still need it. Also, people talk bad on Obama when he tries to give people the help that they need but they look at it as him just being a black president rather then someone trying to help.

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  11. The people in the videos want to cut government spending but don't know what exactly to cut. I think they just hear the government is spending unreasonably from TV and other "smart" people and just agreeing with them without any reason. I agree that these people have no reason and should be more educated on how government spending is used instead of just saying what others say. In the video, the woman interviewing the people in New Jersey was basically only running off government programs that shouldn't be cut. It made it obvious that they should say no to things like veteran benefits and sandy relief funds. She didn't mention any of the things government use money for for useless things like maybe funding better conditions for prisons or building company buildings that no one uses. However, if the people were educated enough to think of these things they would have better answers than "I don't know" when the question was asked "What should be cut?". It goes both was because the question set them up for ignorance but if the people knew what they were talking about they'd have something to back up. If people in New Jersey were educated on what they needed more change would happen.
    -Vijay Racktoo

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    1. I agree with you when you say that people tend to try to sound smart and say that the government should cut spending but when asked they do not know what to cut. People need to be more educated on the issues so that more change is able to happen. - Bridget Brosnan

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    2. The correct answer would have been for them to say to stop aiding other countries like one of the men from Jersey had said. We need to help our own country before helping others.

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  12. I agree with you about how society tends to favor these types of characters because of their gutsy personality and their willingness to do just about anything to get ahead. I think that to some degree we wish we could do that to benefit our own lives. I also agree with you that for so long T.V programs have been nothing but nonsense. Even though some of us enjoy these shows, I believe that the shows that are on now such as breaking bad, house of cards, and one that I love, Dexter are actually better to watch because of the focus it brings to what some people are actually willing to do. These shows portray the darkness that is hidden in so many people but the difference is, is that these characters bring this darkness to life and makes something "good" about it.I also think that people who are uneducated about the issues going on should not talk about them because they really don't know what's best for them economically wise. Even though they are sticking to their moral beliefs, sometimes you have to push them aside in order to see what's actually in your best interest. - Bridget Brosnan

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  13. I agree that the south is extremely backwards on their opinions. They don't attempt to make any sound arguments to back up why they are so anti-government. Having no government and relying solely on their faith in God is what they say is the ideal situation. Even though this is what they say they believe it seems they aren't willing to give up any of the benefits they are currently receiving from the government. Basically their arguments are very hypocritical and it seems they are very uneducated. The south have always been slow to catch up with reality and the modern day. I see that there is hope for the south as long as they continue to accept government assistance. The federal government should also stress the importance of education to all states especially the south. I respect that they want to hold on to their beliefs but right now they are irrational and aren't able to understand their needs.

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    1. I agree and I dont think the south has enough education to even attempt to backup their opinions. This wont work forever, their faith just on God and no government involvement.
      Joelle

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    2. I agree with you. Many people can't logically backup their own arguments

      Denise

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  14. The people in these videos seem to be pretty uneducated. I don't really know much at all about politics or the government, only what I've learned in these classes and from my parents. I do believe that the people from the south are following the old beliefs of confederate south and the traditions followed by their ancestors. With that, many of them, myself included wouldn't be able to argue my beliefs in a cohesive manner that actually made any sense. I also believe that the southern way of living is much simpler (and many live in squalor for that reason). One of the men, when asked what his room full of basically what we would consider to be garbage was, replied saying were in Mississippi.. That is the way things are there. As to the jersey situation, many of those people, in fact, are fuled by anger and emotion because they didn't receive compensation after the storm, so I'd also agree with you that they make absolutely no sense.


    Skylar

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    1. THATS AMAZING !!!! I AGREE !!!!!

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    2. Yea I agree too, they were brought up like that and they cant help it. But I would argue that not all people are like that.
      Bobby A

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    3. ^^ I didnt write these replies....

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  15. I agree with you that people put too much emotions and social prejudices into
    their beliefs rather than logic and truth and facts. I think it's pretty clear
    from the first video that despite the need of government help in these towns in
    Mississippi the people don't want anything to do with receiving government help.
    They are closed minded and believe what they want to because that's what their
    father and their father before that. Small towns where everyone is close and one
    big family don't want to change their views they don't want to open up their
    eyes to new ideas and new issues they just keep following the same views for
    generations. This doesn't work for the most part because times change and new
    issues arise and new problems come into play so you can't have the same stand on
    life that your great great grandfather had. Youre (youre being a generalization
    to the people in the video) great great grandfather didn't get food stamps well
    how would you like it if the government didn't give you food stamps either. When
    it comes close to home maybe then you will see how much you rely on the
    government and how much you and your town could benefit from more government
    involvement.

    As for the second video, nobody had an answer of where the government should cut
    spending. If they really want the government to cut spending then it should be
    in their own town and their sandy relief funds should be taken away and see how
    much they like it then. Your house got destroyed? You have no supermarkets or
    roads or beaches? So now you come to the government for money and for help?
    Doesn't always work like that. And it shouldn't. Sorry hun. The world doesn't
    revolve around you.

    This isn't just targeted at the south or in New Jersey but across America as a
    whole. Wake up people, don't be blinded by the way you were raised or your
    emotions or irrational beliefs. Be open minded and aware if the issues around
    you. It's okay to change your beliefs every once in a while if you have a strong
    argument to support yourself.

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  16. The people in these videos are irrational and uneducated. They don't know anything about the government, and politics. They believe in what their parents believe in. They were brought up like this, you cant change it.
    Now I want to argue that not all people in the south act like this. There is always the ugly side to every town/city/state. They're always irrational, and uneducated people. But I think the majority is educated and rational. So I agree with you Mike.
    -Bobby A

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    1. I disagree with you, even though these views are enforced by what their parents s believed doesn't make it irreversible. It is rather discouraging to see the outrageous opinions of these people but all people are capable of change. Their dynamics are consistently changing for either the good or the bad. Wherever there is a will there is a way!

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  17. I do agree with Mike in that people have a huge tendency to be more persuaded by their own emotions by then logic and reason. A lot of people believe what they want to believe and no matter what you say or do will have an effect on that belief of theirs. As said in the first video by an individual, some in the south still hold a grudge against the fact that they lost the Civil War... Many people all over the country do not like the government for specific reasons but those who need its aid are still against it and won't listen to logic. Some people hold onto things that were believed by some many, many years ago, however, these things are not true now.
    But at the same time, I do disagree in that there are some people who will put aside their beliefs and listen to the logic and reason.

    Denise

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  18. Mike i do agree with you. Human beings are influenced much more by things like strong emotions (fear, anger, indignation), ideology, and social prejudices than by logic, reason, or rationality. The South is just looking for someone/something to blame. I don't understand the anti-governmental attitudes of these people who continue to vote consistently against their own self-interest. Philosophical argumentation are useless when society hasn't been educated to understand the value of reason in the first place. I think these people just want to be heard and will say anything without fully thinking it through. It is sad that they are making a statement and do not have anything to back it up with.

    *Ronnie Amato*

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  19. I don't like your approach to the situation Mike. Even though you do have clear observations and even factual evidence of the poor conditions of the south, at the end you seemed to have a negative approach to the future. Even though these few people were interviewed and had basically the same views of govermnent and solutions that does not give anyone the right to make a solemn view that they are not capable of change. If there were southern leaders that taught and gave this knowledge to the South maybe they would listen to what He/She had to say. If Southerners are driven by emotions then By showing change through "one of their own people" would probably convince them. Having government officials or awareness programs of what is really going on with the government would indeed improve the reasoning and logic in not just Southerners but any group that fell short of thinking by means of reason.

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  20. I agree with this because I feel some people are rational based on their emotions

    Patrick

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  21. In our society, in which so many of our citizens live in environments that do not foster positive physical, mental, or social health or growth, an atmosphere of fear and reliance of pure emotions in the place of rationalized philosophical approaches develops. In order for a person to evaluate their environment through the process of reasoning and logic, one should be of a mind willing to rationalize the information being presented to them, however they chose to rationalize it. The people of the ultra-conservative south or even those conservatives presented in Union Beach, NJ after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, believe they present their viewpoints and “philosophies” are sound; however, the soundness deteriorates under one simply principle: subjectivism.

    When faced with great uncertainty, pain, suffering, and even threat of death, people that other would attempt to rationalize and understand in more philosophical scope are prevented to, by way of their developed sense of reality. Years of these great mortal changes compounded into the daily lives of those people who are the most judgmental based on their emotional content, left them closed and skeptical to new information that does not appear to coincide with their emotional structure. As such, media outlets, along with the strongest (and loudest) voices of southern conservatism provide images for the south that resonate with the common emotional pathology of those people. As for the conservatives of New Jersey, that pain and suffering cloud those people’s ease of rational discourse, thus many (like the people shown in the video), resort to their emotional structure, like their counterparts in the south.

    In short, many people in our country are not using a rational pathology to derive their personal and universal truths, but this is merely a byproduct of mortal pain and suffering diminishing one’s will and ability to strive for a philosophical understanding of the very things that hurt them and how to potentially alleviate those things.

    -Max

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  22. It is obvious that the southerners who were interviewed are not educated on the governmental issues that severely effect them. I agree that the people in disagreement with the government allow their emotions and conservative beliefs to cloud their judgement and will purposefully reject aid because they are prideful. The people who encourage these outdated beliefs and do not try to educate themselves of their society allow themselves to sink deeper into poverty; you can only help those who want to be helped.
    Jada

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  23. I agree with you mike I feel that the people in these videos don't sound educated and also irrational. I don't have a particular view my self towards the government. The views of the south sounding like the civil war is till going in just pathetic and in jersey I understand that they lost and are still suffering since sandy after not receiving fema money I just don't get it makes no sense

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  24. People are rational! They have the capability of interpreting other people's perspectives, on government programs for instance, and either altering their own and/or forming their individual opinion on said issue. Your argument that the South is irrational is to harsh of an attack on those people. You used the article from the huffington post to support your opinion that people are irrational; however, i can use the same article to argue that people are rational. The people who live in the South have few opportunities, suffer from lower economic status, and are generally poorer individuals. However, I would argue that all this is due to a lack of education. Due to the few opportunities and less money the states in the south have, the less the can designate their efforts to education and teaching people to think rationally and articulate their individual opinions. If we could give a Southerner better education, he or she would in essence "become" rational, for they could then articulate their opinions and better interpret controversial issues such as government programs. In addition, the fact that the South tends to not want government intervention in their states could be contributed to cultural trends. The south is known as a "do it yourself" region where most families survive via their own personal hard work. Just because they are raised to work for all they have and tend to be resistant to outside assistance does not mean they are irrational. Take the ancient Spartans....culturally they were known for fighting to the death in all battles. One could argue that that tactic is irrational, for when the 300 Spartans faced the thousands of Persian soldiers in the Battle of Thermopylae, they are viewed in history as heroic and courageous individuals, not irrational soldiers.
    Instead of criticizing people for being irrational, it would be better stated to say that people are somewhat uneducated and that cultural/experiential factors play a huge roll in how people respond to everything.

    - Eric Haslbauer

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    1. I agree with you Eric that his attack on the south was harsh. They are not the only people who act this way. They responded in a way that matched how they were raised. People have the ability to be rational; however, I feel they usually aren't. To become rational they need to be more open minded to learning new things and hearing other opinions. In order to do that they must put their own emotions aside.
      -Anja

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  25. I agree. I think that many people only hear what they want and agree with what they already believe. You can only use logic and reason to a point. Even if someone agrees with your argument, they must also be willing to put their own needs and emotions aside. Usually, people are unwilling to do so. People wanting changes within the government, but at the same time refusing the solution to cut entitlements, is a great example of this.

    -Anja

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    1. I agree with you Anja because even with people that we know personally we cant even convince to go to class if they want to skip for example, much less convince them on a major topic that is complicated and has factors that are compromises that might not benefit everyone but would benefit the majority. Most people would argue with this because they don't understand that its for the greater good and not the most beneficial for them.
      -Manuel Roche

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  26. Since the very beginning human are irational and most of all retarded as fuck. I agree with you Mike, and its not that you are complaining or bitching, but what you are saying is that why try to convinve retarded ass people towards the right path when they simply deny everything. The problem is however, that the ones who suffer are the ones who have some fucking sense in them. This article just reminded me of what I always believed, people in most cases do not care what happens in the world as long as everything is good with themselves. However, I believe in Ethics and that is because it teaches and questions some of the morals, beliefs, and values some have. It is a vital asset in everyones knowledge, and a nessecity. -Abner Saravia

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    1. Abner you use a lot of profound language so you inspired me to use it. But I agree with you 100%. People need to loosen up - Matt Gulotta

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    2. I agree with you people in our time are so dumb that they will believe whatever they want. It seems like the good people always suffer because they aren't stubborn and actually have feelings.
      - Jaylen Morris

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  27. I feel that these southerners are perfectly rational. Despite being what what some may call the "worst" part of the country this is what they are used to. It is almost impossible to be so sheltered from the rest of the country that they do not know people in other regions are living differently and are "better off", they clearly know what is going on elsewhere but these are their personal values and beliefs. You can not help people that do not want to be helped. If the rest of the country was raised the same way there wouldn't even be an argument. No one would takes kindly to people going against what they want, southerners included.
    -Gloria Williams

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    1. I understand where you are coming from. I also think that to some people abandoning your beliefs for an "easier" or more "comfortable" life is in itself irrational. You can look at situations and judge or make decisions based off of your own experiences. But, it is important to walk in another individuals shoes. Money isn't every everything and maybe the north could learn from the south. Like everything else in life a good compromise seems to fit nicely here. The south is vital in showing the rest of the country what it means to stick up for your ideals.

      ~Brad

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  28. I want to start off by saying I think one of the biggest problems in the United States is when people get involved in matters in which they have no business. For example, if America was looking into nuclear power I would have no business giving aid. That being said many individuals do not have sufficient knowledge on governmental systems, but want to have an opinion on the matter. In regards to the south I do not believe that they are completely irrational. While they many seem irrational for voting down programs that could help them they are sticking to their beliefs. Many individuals in the south have a strong desire to stand up for what they believe in. They are people of strong faith and believe in less government. While they could be better off they would have to abandon their beliefs, something they are not willing to do. Many educated northerners would see this as simply ridiculous (especially after reading the article). This is not the case because the southerners grew up with families that got by without assistance and they do not want to seem inferior. If their "dad" was able to get by and still vote his beliefs shouldn't they? It is somewhat courageous standing up for what you believe in when the outcome puts you in a more difficult economic situation.

    The people interviewed in NJ were quite comical. They saw hurricane Sandy as out of their control, and therefore the government should step in (with aid). But, at the same time these very same citizens want cuts in government spending. When asked what they would want to cut, they responded with continued spending. They are not making sense. You cannot have less government spending and make no cuts...At the same time they see elected officials as in a position to make choices which accomplish both.

    Mike you commented that you cannot reason with people who are not logical. I understand where you are coming from sometimes the choices we make are selfless and irrational. for example, I think social security should be cut but it would ultimately help me one day.

    Also I agree with Alex...not all the decisions we make seem right on paper and I am educated...

    ~Brad

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  29. I believe that people are rational, some people may be irrational but that's how they are. As for the huffington post article, the people in the south have less opportunities than we do here, but I also believe that they could do something about that. They are some type of ethnocentrism because the people in the south believe that their way is the best way and they don't want to change for the better, they just want to keep doing what they are doing. The south is uneducated about the government and that's why in the videos when they want to change the government, but they have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to government. Therefore I believe that it is better to say that the south s uneducated not irrational.
    - Casey Colangelo

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  30. I agree with professor Mike Russo because as seen shown in these videos many of the United States citizens are unaware of how their government spending and economic issues actually work (myself included to an extent). People fear the unknown, and the people in these videos clearly do not know! Although what was said about humans being irrational and driven by powerful emotion such as "fear, anger, and indignation", and tend to be very opinionated, I don't think this applies to all humans. For example America created a constitution for the development of equality but there were naturally disagreements. Compromises were made to achieve the best results and agreements for everyone. If humans were so irrational we would not be able to form a working government to organize large groups of people and provide to all of them without convincing the majority of them that this method is correct.
    -Manuel Roche

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    1. I agree with you Manny. It is unfair to say everyone is irrational, but it would also be unwise to say everyone thinks clearly. People are definitely blinded by their own emotion, but when those few people do finally listen to what others are saying, compromises can be made, and changes can occur.
      -Anja

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  31. I agree with a few of the opinions of other some other students the southern people in that video were very uneducated and i don't think you can possible persuade someone to what you believe because no matter what there going to hold there opinion . especially that there uneducated doesn't help because in a huge economical scale like that this most people have no idea what the right answer is and now you expect people that do not have an education to answer or switch there believe in god as some of them were saying and to go against the south which clearly they have a strong love for and were born to feel like this . you would be asking someone to flip what they believed for a majority of there life and now tell them that there belief is wrong

    -eric M

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  32. There once was a time in this country where everyone in the union was together and supported the idea of a better America. Flash forward to today, we couldnt be farther from that time. When it comes to right wing conservatives there is one thing above that fuels their dis taste for the President. He's African American. They couldnt believe he was elected in 2008, and it pains them to still see him in charge in 2014. I that simple. People are very irrational these days and for lack of a better word, stupid. If the people in the videos conducted by Angela Pelosi want to live in shacks and on food stamps the rest of their lives thats their choice. However, just because the rest of us dont live in or maybe even near Mississippi, its still OUR country too. Its alot easier to use your voice to complain about things than it is to use your actions to make a change. The country was founded on leaders not followers, and with each day that passes we grow weaker as a country.

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  33. First of all I really couldnt understand the southerners accents. I agree with you Mike, people are too irrational because when you tell them something they just believe what they want to believe. The fact of the matter is that people are just stupid. They are so hard headed and stubborn and refuse every single hard agrument that people present against their beliefs. All in all this is a bunch of bullshit and all these cocksuckers need to shut the fuck up and learn to appreciate what one another has to say. - Matt Gulotta

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  34. I agree with what you are saying Mike. People are dumb even when you present them with something known. People will believe what they want because they are stubborn and ignorant. You can use logic and details, but if someone doesn't want to hear you out, there is now way to convince a stubborn people. They will believe what they want and argue only believing what they think is right.
    - Jaylen Morris

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  35. It’s obvious that these people that were interviewed are saying that they want to have more liberal point of view, but when asked about their ideas they provide a conservative set of beliefs. These people are unable to defend there so called liberal point of views. When asked what government funds should be cut, they have no idea how to respond. They mostly just seem lost and have no answer for any of it. I don't think they have any clue what they are talking about, and that their ideas are just ideas they have heard and attempted to spread. It’s obvious they think their way is the best and won’t be persuaded or even listen to what you have to say about another way because there way is correct even when it logically makes no sense. Many of the people shown, seemed to have dogmatist characteristics. On the maps shown in the article, it shows a lot about the living conditions of the south. Factors such as poverty rates being higher, minimum wages being lower, obesity, higher percentage of cigarette smokers, and higher teen pregnancy show us that the south doesn't really care what they are doing wrong or what could be changed for the better, because they simply do not see a problem with their lifestyle. These people aren't using facts, but instead are using emotions to judge and this will happen until these people are better educated of the government issues that are greatly and directly affecting their lives.
    -Andrea auer

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  36. Although most of these people seemed uneducated, they did seem to be family oriented and had strong beliefs in God and country.They certainly seem set in their views on the government and government funding. Perhaps we should spend more money on education, particularly in Mississippi and then maybe we can begin to alter some of their prejudices and views. JP

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  37. I agree. However, I also believe that people are irrational due to their beliefs and morals; if they had a better education and more opportunities it would teach them to think rationally. Although they know they need the help from the government, they refuse any aid from the government because they refuse to put their cultural beliefs aside. Both videos are great examples of people being irrational; when they are asked for an explanation, they had no reason or explanation towards their argument. People want the change from the government. however refuse to cut any programs from the government.

    -Preetika

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  38. I would agree, I also believe people expect so much from the government but refuse to put their own beliefs aside. They realize they need aid yet they refuse it at the same time. When they were asked in both videos there were answers but no explanation behind them. They either answered with a yes or no. Having no reason to why they think the way they do, shows us how there beliefs got in the way for them to think logically.
    -Elisa

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  39. People are very likely to base their arguments off of their emotions and the beliefs they were brought up with. There's nothing wrong with that but if an individual does this and then is shown facts/evidence that go against their belief and still stick to their own without backing it up, they're being irrational. The people in the video show their beliefs but aren't able to back it up, but they also aren't being shown why their opinion is not the solution. Maybe if the interviewer were to have stated what a better solution would be for both videos the people would have agreed and maybe not completely changed but modify their opinion. The people in the first video are clearly uneducated of their own government but that's to be expected since they don't want the governments help in the first place. The people in the second video have an idea of what's going up but are unable to back up their opinion, they're most likely following something they found on tv or the internet that says blame the government!". I think people are. But people are different, I will listen to someone who opposes my view with an open mind. Then there are people who will not listen to your argument and just be irrational.
    Nick C

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  40. I remain undecided. One side of the argument, one could say that some people are not as rational as they seem. This is clearly the case with the video pertaining to the south. They allowed their judgment of governmental affairs and policies to be clouded by their emotions. Pride matters more than their quality of life. It is also reasonable to say that people are rational to a certain degree; mainly when it most applies specifically to them. These kinds of people lack the principle of universality. They only see how the change in policy would lessen or enhance their situation or status as opposed to all of those who the policy may affect negatively.

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